MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPTS
JULY 22, 2017
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed potentially running the Indy 500 in the future, his thoughts on competing this weekend and having an opportunity to win at the Brickyard and many other topics. Full transcript:
TALK ABOUT BEING A CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR:
“It is cool to have a children’s book coming out later this fall. It’s called Kyle Loves Racing. It is pretty neat now having a son of my own and reading children’s books to him all of the time. To have my own, I’m sure he will think it is really cool. It was a fun process for sure. It is based off of my career a little bit and my two Cup wins that I had last year and then earlier this year. Fun deal. It is always cool to give back a little bit and try and stay in touch with the youth of our sport.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THE BRICKYARD 400?
“It would be awesome, I’ve ran good every time I’ve been here. I think in the top-six or eight in the three races I’ve ran. I always have speed, and I’m really excited about this weekend because we’ve had more speed than we have ever had anywhere so far in my career. Practice didn’t go quite like I had hoped, especially in qualifying trim. I didn’t think we were very good. We’ll work on it some, and get better. We typically ran better than we even practice.”
KYLE (BUSCH) SPOKE YESTERDAY ABOUT HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO PASS HERE, HOW IMPORTANT DOES THAT MAKE YOUR QUALIFYING POSITION?
“Qualifying is always important, and especially when you come to Indy because it is tough to pass. But, I think you look at the last two weekends, those are probably the hardest tracks to pass at as well. We had to start last in both of those and made our way to the top-10 or top-five pretty quickly. I think if you have a good car, you will be able to pass. For sure, hopefully we can get qualifying in today. If not, that might work about better because I will start on the front row. I think if you have a good car, you can get underneath people and pass them fairly easy.”
SO YOU ARE ACTUALLY PULLING FOR RAIN TODAY?
“The way my mock runs went, yes. (Laughs) Yes, we are pulling for rain.”
ADDRESS YOUR LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE WITH THE SUCCESS YOU HAVE HAD THIS YEAR:
“My confidence has definitely been high all season in all forms of racing that I have done. I feel like I had a shot to win in any type of car I get in to race at any track. It’s been a fun summer already just from all the races that won, and ran in the top-two. I’ve had a lot of second place finishes also. Confidence is big in anything in life. When you’ve got that, it is kind of hard to stop that. I feel like our team is really confident right now. The tech issues we’ve had the last couple of weeks, we are still confident as ever. I think it shows on the race track.”
HOW REWARDING IS IT TO BE ACHIEVING THE POTENTIAL YOU HAD COMING INTO NASCAR?
“It is definitely rewarding. I always believed in myself and believed that our race team would get there eventually. It just kind of a process to get to where we are now. Putting the right people in the right place. I felt like the first couple of years, we had speed at times, and could show we had potential as a team, but now to be doing it on a consistent basis is really cool. I’m glad the fans, and people at home and in the stands get to realize how good our team is because I feel like we have a great bunch of guys and girls at our shop that work hard throughout the week, and allow myself and Jamie (McMurray) to go out and have some fun and run up front. It is always neat to be one of the best in anything you are doing, and to do it at a young age is cool.”
KYLE BUSCH SAID HE WAS GOING TO RUN THE INDY 500 AND HIS BOSS SAID NO. YOUR BOSS SAID IF THE FUNDING WAS RIGHT YOU COULD TRY YOUR HAND AT THE INDY 500. WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO THAT?
“I think Chip (Ganassi) would do it. I think they are all waiting on me to say I want to do it. I do but, when I see Scott Dixon’s and (Sebastien) Bourdais crash it makes me think twice about it a little bit. I’ll get the courage up to do it someday. Maybe next year or the year after. I want to do it at the right time. I feel like the way IndyCar is, and the politics is of it, it seems like one manufacturer is good one year, and then the next one is good the next year, then the next one the next year…so I want to time it so at the right time to where whatever manufacturer Chip is with is the best at that time.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TAKING OVER AS THE FUTURE OF NASCAR?
“We are at an interesting time in NASCAR racing. There is definitely a huge youth movement coming in. It is neat to see the style of drivers that are different now days. I think it is a great opportunity for us young guys to kind of try and do our part to help the sport out. Dale, Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards, I’m sure I am missing others, have done so much for this sport to get us where we are for my generation. We’ve got a great crop of you guys already in the Cup Series, and another eight or 10 below us racing Trucks or Xfinity that are just waiting for more rides to open it up. It is a fun time, and I feel like we are all ready to take over in a way, and lead the sport. I’m looking forward to it. It should be fun.”
DO YOU SENSE THAT EVERYONE IS GETTING EXCITED ABOUT HOW THE GANASSI NASCAR PROGRAM IS PROGRESSING NOW?
“I think with running good, you are definitely excited. Everyone at the shop you can definitely see when you walk in, they are excited and confident as well. You are right; Chip’s Cup program has been very up and down. Even in the four years I’ve been there, all throughout the whole season is a roller coaster ride. This has been the most consistent we’ve ever ran. I’m glad it is consistent on the good side. But you look at his sports car teams and his IndyCar teams, they are always consistently up front. Now we’ve got our where we run up front all of the time. It is awesome and great for Chip. He has worked so hard himself getting sponsorship and putting people in the right place, and for all of his hard work to pay-off is neat also.”
DOES ANYTHING HERE TRANSLATE TO POCONO?
“I don’t know. I don’t get into the setup part of it. So I don’t even know if the setups are close or not. I know I am been struggling…at Pocono we struggled with a kind of weird aero looseness feeling into the corner. It is really hard to describe. So are today I’ve kind of felt the same thing here. That is what I have been kind of pointing out is that I have the same Pocono feeling here. And it isn’t a good feeling. They’ve been working on it, and I think turn two at Pocono is like the corners here. I’ve always heard people say that also.”
ARE YOU LOOKING AT YOUNG DRIVERS IN DIFFERENT SERIES AND THINKING MAN IF THEY GET TO CUP, THEY ARE GOING TO BE TOUGH?
“I definitely think you have at Christopher Bell as being at the top of that list. I got to see his potential a couple years before he ever made it to truck and seeing how good he is. I don’t know what the Furniture Row situation is, but I hope Bell gets to go in the No. 77. There are so many kids in dirt racing that deserve an opportunity to make it…at least get a shot at a solid K&N Series ride and then see how they can progress from there. It just comes down to funding these days. It is a shame there is so much talent that doesn’t get to show for it in NASCAR. I think right now if you look at some of the really young guys; Gio Scelzi is probably the best that I see coming up in winged sprint cars. Spencer Bayston, Logan Seavee, Buddy Coffoid…there is a lot of open wheel guys that I hope someday get the chance.”
DO YOU TALK WITH ANY OF THE INDYCAR DRIVERS ABOUT A POSSIBLE JUMP?
“No, I haven’t. I have great teammates at Chip Ganassi Racing that I can lean on. Scott Dixon is the best in racing. I could always talk to him. I could probably be more curious to talk to Kurt Busch just because he has my background and did an awesome job at Indy. If I ever did get the chance to race, I would be talking to Kurt.”
HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE BASEMENT OF THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MUSEUM?
“Yes, Donald Davidson has taken me down there a couple of times with my parents. My Dad is kind of a historian as well so those two together are fun to be around because they will quiz each other on that. Looking at pictures in starting lineups of the 1970 Indy Mile race and they can name off everyone. Walking through the Hall of Fame is a lot of fun, but especially going downstairs and seeing those unique cars is cool. I don’t think I have the time to go check it out this year, and my parents aren’t here. Hopefully in the future I will get a chance to cruise back through it again. I don’t remember cars specifically. I’m not a huge car guy. I just always think it is cool when you see old sprint cars, or whatever. That is what I am really into. Seeing how crazy those guys were to be strapped or not strapped into those cars is pretty funny.”
WHAT ABOUT IMS CLICKS FOR YOU?
“I don’t know. I think it is a rhythm type of a race track. I’m not sure…maybe the rhythm thing. I’d maybe see smooth but I don’t think I am the smoothest guy out there. I think if you look at Chip’s record here with Juan (Pablo Montoya) or Jamie, this just seems to be a really good track for whatever reason. I don’t know if we piggyback off the IndyCar team at all on anything, or if you even can, but I feel like Chip has always been good here. Even in the seasons where they haven’t been strong, they’ve been good at Indy. I don’t know what it is about that.”